Special Issue "Factors Associated with the Psychological Well-Being of University Students: A Preventive View"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Behavior, Chronic Disease and Health Promotion".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Jesús De La Fuente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Education and Psychology, Universidad de Almería, Almería, Spain
Interests: educational psychology; academic emotions, teaching and leaning process; academic stress; R & D project; psychological innovation; univerity students
Dr. Paul Sander
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
SSSHL Psychology, Tesside University, Southfield Rd, Middlesbrough TS1 3BX, UK
Interests: educational psychology; academic behaviour confidence; academic emotions; well-being; university students
Prof. Dr. Jose Manuel Martínez-Vicente
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Psychology, University of Almería, Almería, Spain
Interests: educational psychology; teaching and leaning process; academic stress; vocational orientation; psychological innovation; university students

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The recent paradigm shift in how educational psychology analyzes the university teaching–learning process is a fact. A former view that focused mainly on cognitive variables has evolved toward the study of students’ personal and emotional variables. For some time, research studies were focused on academic stress as a negative experience that one goes through during this period. There is now plentiful evidence for this phenomenon. However, in recent decades, research has been reoriented towards understanding protective variables in stress, that is, the behavioral characteristics of psychological well-being in university students.

This change, contextualized in Biggs’ 3P model (2001), has brought about a resurgence in research that analyzes students’ motivational-affective characteristics. There is renewed research interest in the possible predictive value of personal presage factors in university students, such as their self-regulation, resilience, and personality characteristics. Also of interest are other process factors such as self-regulated learning, based on the Zimmerman (2001) model; coping strategies for managing stress during learning; or classical learning approaches as a motivational-affective factor; in addition to the study of goal-based motivation, proposed by goal orientation theory. The study of test anxiety has also been expanded to include other achievement emotions, based on the Pekrun model. Finally, the product concept has developed from a one-dimensional concept of achievement to something more flexible (based on competencies) or multidimensional in nature. 

From a complementary approach, context has also received greater recognition and analysis as a factor that predisposes motivational-affective experiences of well-being. From this perspective, one cannot overlook the role of the teacher and the teaching process for predicting and also understanding the university student’s well-being. Thus, SRL vs. ERL theory has promoted the analysis of teacher and student in combination and interaction, producing consistent recent evidence.  The psychological characteristics of the teacher, the way the teaching process is undertaken, and the emotions that it promotes during learning are factors of great current relevance.

Many conceptual and empirical relationships, however, remain to be established. How do all these factors relate to university students’ psychological well-being as a core element of their health? The present Special Issue invites academics and researchers to contribute their work in the form of systematic reviews, empirical contributions, and tested and evidence-based innovations that represent a significant advance in this field of knowledge. Particularly desirable is work from a preventive approach, characteristic of educational psychology. However, other work from a health psychology perspective may also have a place here, in line with the profile of this Journal.

Funding. R&D Project PGC2018-094672-B-I00 (Ministry of Science and Education, Spain), UAL18 SEJ-DO31-A-FEDER (University of Almería, Spain), and the European Social Fund.

Prof. Jesús De La Fuente
Prof. Paul Sander
Prof. Jose Manuel Martínez-Vicente
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • psychological well-being
  • university students
  • preventive view
  • academic stress
  • academic emotions

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Impact of COVID-19 Pandemic on Academic Activity and Health Status among Romanian Medical Dentistry Students; A Cross-Sectional Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(11), 6041; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18116041 - 04 Jun 2021
Viewed by 768
Abstract
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, dental faculties had to rethink their way of teaching and interacting with students and of delivering solid theoretical knowledge and practical skills to students. Background: The purpose of the study was to assess dentistry students’ [...] Read more.
During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, dental faculties had to rethink their way of teaching and interacting with students and of delivering solid theoretical knowledge and practical skills to students. Background: The purpose of the study was to assess dentistry students’ opinions about the online activity, together with a self-evaluation of their mental and physical health, during the first wave of the pandemic. Methods: A cross-sectional study was conducted using an online survey. Three hundred and three students, enrolled across all six years of study, were included in the research. Socio-demographic and academic data were collected, along with a self-evaluation of physical and mental status. Some items investigated students’ opinions about distance learning and the impact of that online activity on their achievement. The answers were rated using a five-item Likert-like scale. Data were analyzed using SPSS (v.24). Results: statistical analyses showed that more than 20% of the students strongly agreed with the statement that they felt more anxious and depressed during the first months of the pandemic, and more than 30% were totally satisfied with their relationships with their family members. One-fifth of the respondents declared that they were totally dissatisfied with the relationships with their colleagues and friends. Overall, 50.60% of the students attended the courses/labs in their entirety when they were connected online. Two-thirds of the respondents considered that their practical training was affected due to the online activity, and that not all of the subjects could be taught online. More than half of the respondents agreed that the most objective evaluation method is that of the multiple-choice exams administered at school, and considered that exclusively utilizing online assessments of students encourages unethical behaviors. Age, involvement in online activity, and active participation using video cameras were strongly correlated with satisfaction with academic results. Conclusions: The results of the present study showed that online activity was a good alternative for dentistry students during the pandemic restrictions. The positive aspects, together with the negative consequences, of distance learning should also be taken into consideration by university teachers and academic institutions to improve teaching experiences and to ensure a solid professional formation for dentistry students. Full article
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Article
Students’ Perceptions of Instructional Rubrics in Neurological Physical Therapy and Their Effects on Students’ Engagement and Course Satisfaction
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(9), 4957; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18094957 - 06 May 2021
Viewed by 765
Abstract
One of the main challenges faced by physical therapy (PT) students is to learn the practical skills involved in neurological physical therapy (PT). To help them to acquire these skills, a set of rubrics were designed for formative purposes. This paper presents the [...] Read more.
One of the main challenges faced by physical therapy (PT) students is to learn the practical skills involved in neurological physical therapy (PT). To help them to acquire these skills, a set of rubrics were designed for formative purposes. This paper presents the process followed in the creation of these rubrics and their application in the classroom, noting that students perceived them as valid, reliable, and highly useful for learning. The perception of the validity and usefulness of the rubrics has different closely related dimensions, showing homogeneous values across the students´ sociodemographic and educational variables, with the exception of dedication to studying, which showed a significant relationship with schoolwork engagement and course satisfaction. The adequacy of the hypothesized structural model of the relationships among the variables was confirmed. Direct effects of the perception of the rubrics’ validity and engagement on course satisfaction were found, as well as direct effects of the assessment of the usefulness of the rubrics on schoolwork engagement and indirect effects on course satisfaction through this latter variable. The results are discussed taking into account the conclusions of previous research and different instructional implications. Full article
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Article
Regulation/Non-Regulation/Dys-Regulation of Health Behavior, Psychological Reactance, and Health of University Undergraduate Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(7), 3793; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18073793 - 05 Apr 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1070
Abstract
The Self-Regulation vs. External-Regulation Theory (2017) has postulated a continuum of regulation/non-regulation/dys-regulation that is present both in the individual and in the individual’s context. This gives rise to a behavioral heuristic that can predict and explain other health-related variables, such as psychological reactance [...] Read more.
The Self-Regulation vs. External-Regulation Theory (2017) has postulated a continuum of regulation/non-regulation/dys-regulation that is present both in the individual and in the individual’s context. This gives rise to a behavioral heuristic that can predict and explain other health-related variables, such as psychological reactance and student health. On a voluntary basis, 269 university students completed validated questionnaires on variables of regulation, reactance and health. Using an ex post facto design, we performed correlational analysis and structural linear regression to build a structural equations model (SEM) with acceptable statistical values. The results showed various predicted relationships: self-regulation was associated with and positively predicted self-regulated health behavior; external health-regulating contexts were associated with and positively predicted self-regulated health behavior; non-regulatory and dysregulatory contexts negatively predicted self-regulated health behavior and students’ health itself, as well as positively predicting psychological reactance behavior. Implications are established for explaining variability in general and health-related self-regulation, as well as for intervening in these variables in health programs. Full article
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Article
The Role of Gender and Age in the Emotional Well-Being Outcomes of Young Adults
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 522; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph18020522 - 10 Jan 2021
Viewed by 951
Abstract
Young adults face different stressors in their transition to college. Negative emotions such as stress can emerge from the demands they face. This study aimed at gaining an improved understanding of the role that gender and age play in the well-being of young [...] Read more.
Young adults face different stressors in their transition to college. Negative emotions such as stress can emerge from the demands they face. This study aimed at gaining an improved understanding of the role that gender and age play in the well-being of young adults. Coping strategies, resilience, self-regulation, and positivity were selected as indicators of well-being. Descriptive and inferential analysis have been conducted. Results show that well-being varies significantly with age and gender. Gender was predominantly involved in the acquisition of the well-being outcomes, highly predicting problem-focused coping strategies. No interaction effects were found between gender and age. An improved understanding of the developmental factors involved in well-being outcomes will enlighten future interventions aimed at improving young people’s resources to face adversity. Full article
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Article
Model Construction for Undergraduate Student College Adjustment
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7090; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17197090 - 28 Sep 2020
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Background: College students are known to struggle with a number of difficulties, such as their future careers and interpersonal relationships, as well as job-seeking stress. This study aimed to develop and test a structural model for undergraduate student college adjustment. Methods: The [...] Read more.
Background: College students are known to struggle with a number of difficulties, such as their future careers and interpersonal relationships, as well as job-seeking stress. This study aimed to develop and test a structural model for undergraduate student college adjustment. Methods: The data collection period ranged from November 2019 to January 2020. A questionnaire was distributed to a total of 300 college students; a total of 290 copies were ultimately used for analysis. Result: The model fit indexes of the final model were χ2 = 427.707 (p < 0.001), DF = 173, χ2/DF = 2.47, GFI = 0.88, Adjusted Goodness of Fit Index (AGFI) = 0.84, Comparative Fit Index (CFI) = 0.91, Incremental Fit Index (IFI) = 0.92, Standardized Root Mean-square Residual (SRMR) = 0.07, and Root Mean-Square Error of Approximation (RMSEA) = 0.07. All of the model fit indexes were acceptable, and seven of the thirteen paths in the final model were significant. The factors that influenced college adjustment were social support (r = 0.39) and ego-identity (β = 0.73), explaining 57.1% of the variance. Conclusions: To increase college adjustment, it is necessary to consider the relationship of adjustment with college students’ surrounding environments, such as their family, friends, and professors, and how students can improve their ego-identity. Full article
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Article
Undergraduate Student Gender, Personality and Academic Confidence
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(15), 5567; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17155567 - 01 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1124
Abstract
Within a socio-situational and socio-behavioural context, the relationships between the Big Five personality traits and the academic confidence of university students and how they differed by sex of the student was explored. Previous research has identified both conscientiousness and academic confidence as being [...] Read more.
Within a socio-situational and socio-behavioural context, the relationships between the Big Five personality traits and the academic confidence of university students and how they differed by sex of the student was explored. Previous research has identified both conscientiousness and academic confidence as being linked to university performance. In respect of sex, female students have been found to score higher on all of the Big Five measures, whereas the relationship between sex and academic confidence has been mixed. Using self-report measures of personality and academic confidence from 1523 Spanish students, it was found that the female students were more confident in their grades, studying and attendance components of academic confidence and had higher scores for conscientiousness, agreeableness and neuroticism personality measures. A multiple regression analysis found that personality predicts academic confidence, with conscientiousness being the trait that statistically loaded the most strongly. This research further confirms the validity of the Academic Behavioural Confidence scale and suggests that measures of personality and, especially, academic confidence could be usefully used in student support situations to help students acquire the strategies and skills that lead to successful university study. It is suggested that further research in the area needs to include outcome or achievement measures and measures of hypothetical constructs, such as personality and academic confidence, that go beyond self-report measures. Full article
Article
Effect of Levels of Self-Regulation and Situational Stress on Achievement Emotions in Undergraduate Students: Class, Study and Testing
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4293; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17124293 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1608
Abstract
Achievement emotions constitute one important variable among the many variables of students’ learning. The aim of this research was to analyze the differential effect of university students’ levels of self-regulation (1 = low, 2 = medium and 3 = high), and of their [...] Read more.
Achievement emotions constitute one important variable among the many variables of students’ learning. The aim of this research was to analyze the differential effect of university students’ levels of self-regulation (1 = low, 2 = medium and 3 = high), and of their level of perceived stress in three academic situations (1 = class, 2 = study time and 3 = testing), on the type of achievement emotionality they experience (positive and negative emotions). The following hypotheses were established: (1) a higher level of student self-regulation would be accompanied by higher levels of positive emotionality and lower levels of negative emotionality and (2) a higher level of situational stress would predispose higher levels of negative emotionality and lower levels of positive emotionality. A total of 520 university students completed three self-reports with validated inventories. Descriptive, correlational, and structural prediction analyses (SEM) were performed, as well as 3 × 3 ANOVAs, under an ex post facto design by selection. The results showed overall fulfillment of the hypotheses, except for a few specific emotions. Implications for prevention and psychoeducational guidance in the sphere of university education are discussed. Full article
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Article
Psychological Distress among College Students: Role of Food Insecurity and Other Social Determinants of Mental Health
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(11), 4118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17114118 - 09 Jun 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1499
Abstract
Food insecurity is a major social determinant of health and an assessment of how it may impact college students’ mental health is imperative, as well as differential associations by self-identified gender. A cross-sectional survey was used among college students of a mid-size minority-serving [...] Read more.
Food insecurity is a major social determinant of health and an assessment of how it may impact college students’ mental health is imperative, as well as differential associations by self-identified gender. A cross-sectional survey was used among college students of a mid-size minority-serving institution with a final sample size of 302 participants aged 18 years or above. Descriptive, bivariate, and multivariable regressions were conducted, by gender, to assess the role of food insecurity (United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) six-item questionnaire), on mental health outcomes (Kessler-6 scale and self-perception). All the statistical analyses were conducted in SPSS version 24 (IBM, Corp.; Armonk, NY, USA) with an alpha less than 0.05 used to denote significance. Among those with food insecurity, the odds of reporting psychological distress (odds ratio (OR) = 3.645, p < 0.05) and an average to very poor self-perceived mental health status (OR = 2.687, p <0.05) were higher compared to their food-secure counterparts, with the results consistent in a gender-specific analysis as well. Compared to men, however, women had higher odds of psychological distress (OR = 2.280, p < 0.05), as well as reporting average to very poor self-perceived mental health statuses (OR = 2.700, p < 0.05). Among women, any alcohol use in the past 12 months (OR = 2.505, p < 0.05) and a low self-perceived physical health status (OR = 3.601, p < 0.05) were associated with an average to very poor self-perceived mental health status. Among men, a low perceived physical health status was associated with higher odds of psychological distress (OR = 3.477, p < 0.05). The results of our study highlight that food insecurity should be considered a social determinant of mental health wellbeing. In addition, gender-specific trends in mental health highlight the need for targeted interventions for prevention and treatment. Full article
Article
Big Five, Self-Regulation, and Coping Strategies as Predictors of Achievement Emotions in Undergraduate Students
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(10), 3602; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/ijerph17103602 - 20 May 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1426
Abstract
The study focused on the analysis of linear relations between personality, self-regulation, coping strategies and achievement emotions. The main objective was to establish a model of linear, empirical, associative to infer needs and proposals for intervening in emotional health in the different profiles [...] Read more.
The study focused on the analysis of linear relations between personality, self-regulation, coping strategies and achievement emotions. The main objective was to establish a model of linear, empirical, associative to infer needs and proposals for intervening in emotional health in the different profiles of university students. A total of 642 undergraduate students participated in this research. Evidence of associative relations between personality factors, self-regulation and coping strategies was found. The neuroticism factor had a significant negative associative relationship with Self-Regulation both globally and in its factors; especially important was its negative relation to decision making, and coping strategies focused in emotion. The results of Structural Equation Model showed an acceptable model of relationships, in each emotional context. Results and practical implications are discussed. Full article
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